The Business of Culture: the impact of the European Capital of Culture designation on businesses
The Impacts 08 - European Capital of Culture Research Programme combines established and innovative methodologies. It assesses the cultural, social, economic and environmental dimensions of Liverpool's regeneration in the lead to, during and in the aftermath of becoming the 2008 European Capital of Culture.
This particular paper offers a profile and initial assessment of the impacton the Merseyside and North West business base. First, it indicates to what extent the European Capital of Culture designation is adding economic value to the sub-region and the wider North West. In addition, the report elucidates the broader economic indicators used by Impacts 08 with a survey of Merseyside businesses.
Impacts 08 – The Liverpool Model, is a joint research initiative of the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, which evaluates the social, cultural, economic and environmental effects of Liverpool’s hosting the European Capital of Culture title in 2008. The research programme, commissioned by Liverpool City Council, examines the progress and impact of this experience on the city and its people.
The aim of Impacts 08 is to develop a research model for evaluating the multiple impacts of culture-led regeneration programmes that can be applied to events across the UK and beyond. An obvious example is the London 2012 Olympic Games, which will also incorporate a four-year cultural programme (cultural Olympiad) starting in 2008. Future European Capitals of Culture, such as Essen and the Rhur area, Istanbul and Pecs in 2010, should also benefit from andbuild on this research.
To what extent does the European Capital of Culture designation add economicvalue to the Merseyside and North West region?
A survey was disseminated between July and December 2006, when a total of 3,000 surveys were sent to the owner managers (or equivalent) drawn from a database of 12,000 enterprises in the North West region. This database has been constructed through random selection of enterprises in the region stratified by geography, local authority district and industrial classification. For this survey 2,000 enterprises (67% of the total) were randomly chosen from the Merseyside Region and 1,000 (33% of the total) randomly chosen in the Rest of the North West (RoNW). A total of 223 useable responses were received, with 56% received from Merseyside enterprises and 44% from the North West region. A small proportion of responses were returned from outside the region. The response rate of 8% is typical of postal surveys of small businesses.
- Awareness: in general, enterprises are aware of the ECoC, although a significant minority of enterprises in the North West (16%) are not aware of the ECoC designation. For Merseyside enterprises, the proportion was 5%.
- Sales: ten percent of Merseyside businesses and 5% of businesses elsewhere in the North West reported gains in sales (financial year 2005-2006) attributable to ECoC 2008. In general, the majority of businesses does not anticipate winning future sales from the ECoC.
- Economic impact: the proportion of sales attributed to the ECoC for Merseyside enterprises (financial year 2005-2006) was 1%; across the rest of the North West this was 0.4%. Using this information it is estimated that the input into the Merseyside GVA arising from this would be £216m, and across the whole North West (including Merseyside) sales attributable to the Liverpool ECoC in 2005-2006 would input £529m into the regional GVA.
- Characteristics of enterprises experiencing benefits: they were mainly from the Merseyside, with Liverpool enterprises dominant; they had some form of relationship with local authority and they are 'extrovert in nature'.
- Employment: looking at the aggregated change in employment reported across all enterprises, an increase of 6% in actual employment is suggested.
Further research is needed in order to continue the attempt to disaggregate impact from other initiatives and to assess actual projected sales from 2008 itself.
University of Liverpool
Dr. Beatriz Garcia
Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams, David Sapsford and Alan Southern
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Report | Doing Business in the European Capital of Culture
16 May 2008, pdf, 596KB